If you suspect a friend or significant other to be a narcissist, this article illustrates a few toxic patterns. As you observe these behaviors, consider frequency and duration. If your person is a bit bratty, self-centered and shows signs of these behaviors every so often, he or she may have negative traits that can be managed with increased communication. On the other hand, if your your person is easily annoyed by not having his way, is a bully, lies compulsively, or engages in any of the behaviors detailed below — run!
According to a piece written in Medium, Psychotherapist Elizabeth Mika, states that “narcissism creates a deficit of conscience”. Without one’s conscience operating with regard to empathy, guilt, shame, being introspective, and having self-awareness, etc.,his interpersonal interactions will lack a moral campus. If a person has antisocial behaviors (manipulation, deceit, impulsivity, etc) they do not evaluate right versus wrong; they only do what serves them in the moment. This can become scary, especially when you are on the receiving end of these pathological behaviors.
The first step to protecting ourselves from narcissistic behaviors is to be intensely aware of the toxic habits that affect us. Review the following narcissistic habits and learn ways to dodge the effects.
The narcissist will use guilt trips, a form of psychological manipulation, to bully the other person into doing what they want. Like many other behaviors, the narcissist takes guilt tripping to the extreme (even when being passive). Guilt tripping a friend or significant other is a form of psychological abuse, and at times, the narcissist knows how to do this without us even knowing. If your guilt has turned into resentment, it’s a result of being affected by a chronic guilt tripper. Resenting your friend of significant other can may make you feel like you are being petty or holding a grudge, but when you pull back the layers you’ll see that at the root of your animosity is their continued control over your emotions.
A narcissistic guilt tripper may use your past transgressions against you, question your love for them, and even threaten suicide. They know what triggers your emotions, they study your reactions, and know when they’ve got you. One way to combat the narcissistic guilt tripper is to set firm boundaries at the beginning of the relationship. Setting limits is important in any relationship, but with the narcissist, being very firm and removing emotion from the equation let’s them know they are not in control. You can do this by grounding yourself in reality, remember the facts and using them in your exchange with the narcissist to create an airtight response.
Psychology Today defines gaslighting as “a form of persistent manipulation and brainwashing that causes the victim to doubt her or himself, and to ultimately lose one’s own sense of perception, identity, and self-worth.” At the base of it, gaslighting is abusive behavior, specifically when an abuser manipulates information so much so you question your own sanity. You may seriously doubt your recollection of what took place in the past or question your own logic. If you are constantly questioning whether or not you are good enough, too sensitive, your decision making, or are often confused at the end of a disagreement you are more than likely the victim of gaslighting. If you realize your spouse or friend has been gaslighting you, there are ways to cope and recover. In an article written for Vox, Dr. Robin Stern, PhD, shared a few helpful steps:
Separate truth from distortion.
1.Separate truth from distortion
2.Practice visualizing yourself without the relationship
3.Focus on your gut feeling versus being right or wrong
4.Don’t try to control opinion, let go
Fear is a common tool humans use to create leverage and control for themselves. Parents, teachers, pastors, older siblings — everyone uses fear in some capacity. It is unhealthy and toxic when it reaches the level of intimidation. Intimidation is purposely frightening someone into doing what you want them to do and it is a favorite tactic of the narcissist. Intimidation does not always have to be physical, but with some narcissists it is. They may use threats of physical violence to force you to comply with their wishes. Forms of intimidation that do not include physical abuse are blackmail, and financial or emotional neglect. Many times, the narcissist has created dependency on them, and the threat of withdrawing that support may force their victims to comply with their wishes. If you are currently experiencing similar forms of intimidation,it is recommended that you create an exit strategy with a trusted friend or counselor.
On the extreme end, narcissism fosters pathological aggression. Pathological aggression is when someone becomes aggressive and short tempered by nature. As previously mentioned, narcissist often become physically abusive. Physical abuse starts small sometimes and they will cause you to believe you deserved it or triggered them in some way. You may think that if you hadn’t done something to upset them, then you wouldn’t have gotten a backhanded slap. It may escalate from an open-handed hit to close handed, or choking, or so much more. It is serious. If you are a survivor of physical abuse or need help with creating an exit plan, please contact 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline.